tv [untitled] November 1, 2010 9:30pm-10:00pm PST
process late in 2008, and that is our fifth reason for opposing the landmark recommendation for north beach. this is the eir. the draft library and parks plan is being studied in an exhaustive process that looks at the existing impacts to traffic, chatelin, architectural resources, and the historic resources of the existing building as well as other considerations. these are weighed against the benefits of the project, which are many in terms of a large, functional library, accessible 21st century, stated that our library, a beautifully restored park, a safe, accessible playground, and a tremendous increase in open space and greenery. the library and parks departments have consistently heard overwhelming community support for this plan that represents the diversity of age, use, and culture of san francisco and north beach. we feel that landmarking the current building should not be used as a means of elevating the historic impact so that it has
more weight than what is best for the community. >> good afternoon. i cannot help it, but i'm going to start with -- though, the giants -- go, giants. i'm here to basically reiterate and reinforce the comments that have already been made. it does bear repeating -- first of all, we are very proud of managing the branch library improvement program. we have been impressed with not only the hallmark of the library improvement program, which is that we engage the community in a full and fully bedded process for each of the projects, and the north beach project is no exception -- full and fully vetted process for each of the projects. the library participated in a
very exhaustive master planning process with many community meetings to insure that the north beach neighborhood residents truly had a voice in what would happen to the future of its neighborhood library, and it is fantastic to see this amazing turnout in the middle of the day because it shows the commitment from residents that truly want a state of the art library. this has been going on for 7.5- plus years, and it is long overdue. north beach is a very diverse community. it serves almost 30,000 residents. what we heard loud and clear was the need to provide the community with a first class library, with full accessibility for all our patrons in area that would be dedicated to children, teenagers, shelf space to provide a diverse and large multilingual collection, technology upgrades, and i know some of you have been beneficiaries of the wonderful
renovations and new buildings in your neighborhoods. we want the same thing to happen in the north beach community. the community explored numerous options, including renovation, and other alternatives, but in the end, the only way to provide this very dense urban neighborhood with the library services they deserve in an accessible and state building is by replacing the outdated and inefficient branch library with new buildings, and i have been in this business for 30-plus years, and from a professional standpoint, there is no basis for keeping that library, even if we were to do an expansion, because it does not meet the programmatic needs for the community. not only now, but i generations to come, which is what we need to keep looking at -- but in generations to come, which is what we need to keep looking at. i have been impressed with the collaboration of our sister
department, recreation and park, and the library. rarely does the community have an opportunity to create a severe vision in a very dense environment, so we need to take advantage of that -- opportunity to create a civic mission. keeping the assisting library will not provide adequate services for the community. it reduces space, and expanding the existing library impact key recreational one part functions -- impacts key recreational and heart functions. we're very proud of our track record with historical renovations. only in cases where the community saw the need for a new, larger library was a new building design. we have received numerous historic preservation awards. we are very proud of our carnegie library, our workers progress buildings. we have several of those. and our century-old library that
just celebrated 100 years last year, and with the opening of the park side library i invite you to attend this saturday, we will have renovated six mid- century modern library buildings. the existing building is not seismically safe, and it is woefully inadequate to meet the needs of a contemporary library and in keeping with the goals of the branch library improvement program, which is safe, accessible buildings. the library commission endorsed the new site. i urge you to reject landmarking the existing north beach library, as doing so will impede our progress towards realizing that vision toward a state of the art library for north beach. thank you very much. supervisor chiu: thank you, and i see the general manager of our rec and park department, so if i
could ask him to step up. >> good afternoon. i wanted to echo just a feel of the comments that the city librarian made an offer a couple of our own from a parts perspective. luis talked about partnerships. you often as fast as city agencies to work together and collaborate and identify efficiencies and to really engage the community as one city rather than a separate department, and this in particular is a project where that has been done, and in my view, effectively well. i want to celebrate and compliment the library and our project manager's staff on incredible collaboration.
the third leg of that partnership, and i think the speakers before me have talked about an extensive public meeting process and great community collaboration. if you look behind me, you will see a lot of people committed to and engaged in the process. karen talked about the neighborhood, and she talked about it being one of the densest neighborhoods in the country, and she talked about how woefully lacking the are in open space in that particular neighborhood, but we have an incredible opportunity to add 12,000 square feet of open space for this neighborhood. this will increase our part side by 20% -- our park side by 20%. it increases the size of the
children's play area and adds new features for our kids. frankly, it replaces a deteriorated playground -- it replaces deteriorated playground equipment. it creates a half from one side to the other. it provides very significantly visibility -- significantly improved visibility and safety. it connects all of the park features and enables parents and staff to have a much clearer line of sight into the top playground and the children's playground than currently exists out there. we are in the business of state parks, and we are often asked to do it, and our needs and plans outstrip capacity. we have the opportunity to leverage millions of dollars under proposition 84. this was a project not included
in the 2008 parks fund, so we have an opportunity to leverage that money now to do something very spectacular. it really is a visionary project, and i would encourage you to do all you can to support it. supervisor maxwell: did you say it would increase the playground by 20%? >> yes, it increases the overall park size by 20%, which is about 12,000 square feet. supervisor maxwell: you would have money to continue the plans you have for augmenting the playground? it would not just the library would sit there, and the rest of it would not be able to be done at all? >> we have an application in with the state parks department under proposition 84. there are in here who criteria for the grant application and for the grant itself, and we think that based on density, based on income levels, and based on some objective empirical criteria that this
pakr scores very high -- this park scores very high. we are anxiously awaiting to hear from that, but there is an additional round of funding, even if for some reason we were not selected in this first round. it is our intent, our dream to see this -- >> do you have a plan c? >> if you give me a few minutes, i can come up with one. [laughter] supervisor maxwell: if you were to remodel the old library and have the triangle as open space, would you have as much open space as you will when you reconfigure this? >> no, my understanding is that under the existing design, if we are able to expand -- one of the alternatives is to expand the existing library, which results in a reduction of the children's playground, so you have a net
change here of 16,000 square feet. if the plan that the library commission and recreation and park commission have approved that has been developed in partnership with the community, my understanding is that we add 12,000 square feet of open space. if we expand the existing library, we would end up reducing the size of the children's play area by over 4000 square feet. supervisor maxwell: so you have less open space even with the try and go? >> the triangle has open space. it is subject to the interpretation about what the utility of that open space is. >> i was just going to say that the triangle can provide certain kinds of things, but in terms of a playground, the community expressed a lot of concerns about putting a playground on
the triangle, and the plan in an environmental review right now would expand into the children's playground, essentially reducing the space we have. supervisor maxwell: right, so the trade bill is close to the street, so the concern would be that the playground would be closer to the street -- the triangle is close to the street, so the concern would be that the playground would be even closer to the street. >> the last point i would echo from our city librarian is -- go ahead. supervisor chiu: any other final comments from city staff before we proceed to public comment? >> i wondered if i could identify myself. i'm the author of the landmark designation. i'm not part of the city, but i wrote the history of the building. supervisor maxwell: if you are not city staff, you are
considered public, so when there is public comment, you'd be able to comment at that time. supervisor chiu: great. at this time, i'm holding probably a couple of hours' worth of public comment. i would like to ask members of the public that wish to speak on behalf of either of the landmark designations to speak. let me just read the cards in the order in which i have them. just so everyone understands, we will give everyone an opportunity to speak, and obviously, there are strongly held feelings on both sides of this. i just ask for people's respect as we go through the public comment. [reading names] if you could line up on tehe left-hand side. i would also ask if there is anyone, as is our typical
practice -- if you are disabled or a pair of has a young child, feel free to also join the line at this time. let me continue to read a couple more cards. [reading names] why don't we start with that. every speaker shall have up to two minutes. thank you. >> i'm penelope clark, a resident of russian hill. the north beach library also serves the eastern and northern slopes of russian hill, so we are very much interested in this. i support the new library. i was rather disappointed when i went to the landmark commission to find that those in favor of landmarking the old library felt
that they had no obligation to consider the practical aspects of the library, the they simply felt that it was someone else's problem. but the design for the new library does indeed bring it into the 21st century and serves the neighborhood so much more. i hope that you will not plan mark the library. i feel it is unfortunate that there are people so attached to it, but i feel we cannot be so sentimental about that with other, better examples of that style of library in the community. i think one of the important parts is either the closing or narrowing of mason street, which would give the park and library both more space to work with.
the new library design, i think, is extremely surprising. i thought a trying to library was rented the chillier -- a triangular library was rather peculiar, but after studying the plan, i thought the functionality was really exceptional. supervisor chiu: thank you. as individual speakers finish, you can start walking up so we can move through the line. >> i'm a freelance writer and editor. i have lived within two blocks of this library for 14 years, and i have been looking forward to the time when it could be renovated and improve. it probably serve great as a library in the 1950's when we were just talking about books. it does not serve so well now. to make. the first is i have been involved in the process since
the beginning. i have gone to all the meetings. i'm not affiliated with the organization, but i have been interested for professional and personal reasons with the outcome, and i have been impressed with the fact that the process has managed to lead us to the best solution to a very complicated problem. you know what all the factors are. one that has not been mentioned is the chain link fence covered with morning glories that currently makes up one side of the children's playground is also where a lot of people urinate. there are all kinds of things that have to be calculated into the equation that i think have been handled well by the people involved. that brings me to my second point, which is that this rehab- able library represents the democratic process at its best. it has been open, transparent, fully participatory, and very impressive as far as our city
government at work with all the various agencies collaborating. third and finally, from my point of view, the arguments in favor of landmarking are mostly political and theoretical. they focus on a desire not to offend certain people and constituencies and to honor others. the argument against when marking the building are substantive. we need a library that works. that people can actually use. finally, the new library plan has the advantage of keeping the old library open, as heavily used as it is, while the new library would be built, which other plants have not enabled us to do. thank you. >> good afternoon. the san francisco parts trust is the fiscal sponsor for the friends of joe dimaggio playground, and we have been working for the past five years on various improvement projects
-- the san francisco parks trust. we are opposing historic landmarking, and we feel confident all the various options have been well explored within the community, and the park and community would be best served by renovating and creating a new library. thank you. >> good afternoon. i'm a proud supporter of our renovated library as well as a renovated library for the whole san francisco's system. i'm asking you please not to recommend landmark status for the north beach branch. new or renovated functional libraries have been popping up all over san francisco. north beach library is not functional. cannot be made ada-compliant.
the existing building is on park property. any expansion would mean property currently used as a place base would be reduced. demolition of the old building and construction of a new one on the trying to would give north beach residents increase contiguous park space and a larger, functional, 88--- ada- compliant library. residents of north beach deserve that just as residents all over this city deserve a renovated library. thank you. >> hi e-mailed -- i e-mailed you. it cannot be easy. you have mothers and children and components of ada, and despite that, i urge you to consider the alternative of preserving a historic building. i just do not think that we have
to tear down a building. why do we have to tear down something just to make something new? we all want a new library. thank you, yes, i have a supporter. lots of jobs will be created either way. not only is the city's historic preservation commission recommended the building be preserved, but i heard tina from the planning commission say that this was a historic landmark. not all historic landmarks obviously have support. ceqa has not even finished their review, and the library never even presented adequate alternatives to demolition in the first place. i saw them here for the first time. the north beach library is a perfect candidate for rehabilitation and remodeling. why not? there is enough room to create additional space. the bocce ball got renovated, but nobody used that. nobody uses it.
every time i go by, it is practically empty except for a couple of children's parties, so i think that is something to explore. there is the egregious offense that has taken place regarding a citizen having been forced into eminent domain. supervisor maxwell, you even supported the plan to become open space, and i think we need to abide by our laws. a citizen lost their property in order for us to have open space. there are other points of note. the triangular property is too small to accommodate the project. a three-story building on this amount of space would be required in order to fit into library. please support the landmarking of these two libraries. let's work together to keep community buildings out of landfills. there is more than one road to a new library. thank you. >> good afternoon, supervisors.
i live about a block and have from the library -- a block and a half from the library. the only thing i agree with that was said by a city employee is that the library does very good renovation. you are here to decide whether our library deserves historic preservation. you are not here to act on the master plan. it appears that the city employees have so much invested in the hope that there is other work for them. by the way, the library did not have a partner until march of 2008 when rent and park realized that the library -- when rec adn park -- when rec and park
realized that the library had almost unlimited funds, so they seized the project from developers, and they became partners, and the triangle lot became an intrinsic part of the plan. one of the things that is really upsetting -- this is a playground. it is not a part -- park. you can look at the signs that are out there. in the packet you got, you only got one of the expert opinions. i do not blame you if you do not want to read all of this, but please do because it is an expert opinion. that is what i think you are supposed to be considering, whether the library really deserves historic preservation. the first taste says the building could be part of a local program along with the seven other branches.
it has more integrity than any of the other applicable libraries. thank you. supervisor chiu: thank you. next speaker. >> supervisors, good afternoon. i am executive director of the san francisco labor council. we represent the union that supports the librarians. we at organized labor usually never fail when we listen to the workers first and make sure their needs are taken into consideration and we do not stray when we are diligent in those matters, and we are here today on behalf of the labor council -- i'm here on behalf of the labor council to support the library commission, and we urge you strongly not to win one of these buildings -- not to landmark these buildings. thank you. >> building and constructions trades council. i am sometimes accused of coming before you only because of the
work, and that is really not the case. i make it in principle not to argue on behalf of projects are non-union, and this has been a mixed bag for us. any gains we would make our marginal at best, so i'm here to argue on a different basis. as a san francisco resident and someone who raised his family here in san francisco. you have heard how a library has preserved appleton woolford libraries whenever possible assiduously, but they have real needs they need to meet on behalf of the community here we should honor historic preservation where possible, but we must leave ourselves the flexibility to address the needs of the community when they come forward, and that is what is going on in this instance. i asked you not to vote in favor of the historic preservation of this library -- i ask you.
>> i'm bob planthold. i come to you as a person with the disability and as a single parent, urging you to not follow any recommendation to designate this north beach branch library. i urge you to actually recommend against it, to urge your colleagues not only to actively say, "know, do not recommended -- "no, do not recommend it." there is too much invested towards a park, a playground, a library that meets the needs of the community. you have to remember, recreation space was taken away in the 1950's for this library. this would be an attempt to
return some of that recreation land here right now, those who are politically connected are trying to push their estimates from a 1950's perspective to override the civil rights of access -- plus their esthetics -- push their esthetics. they are trying to push their feelings it out with the needs of kids, families, seniors, people with disabilities. it is not fair. it is not right. it is not the san francisco way. you should recommend actively against the designation of the north beach library. thank you. supervisor chiu: next speaker please. >> i think all residents should be able to go to a claim library, and if they make a new library, there should be elevators for disabled people
and a bigger children's place -- i think all residents should be able to go to a clean library. if you have kids, do you want them playing in our sec and running in a dirty library? thank you. -- do you want them playing in our senate -- do you want them playing in arsenic and running in a dirty library? thank you. >> i'm a resident of north beach, ai am a library patron, k patron, and a teacher. this building does not meet the threshold of landmarkeing. one level, ample lighting. also, the building has already been modified. the out door reading area has been removed to a